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Baptism of the Lord



And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased”

Introductory Prayer: Jesus, you teach me what it means to be a beloved son of the Father through your docility as you bend down to be baptized by John in the Jordan. You always pleased your Father completing the work he gave you to do. That work included saving me and making me able to call God, 'Abba', Father. May I treasure the gift of being baptized into the family of love more each day and bend humbly to the plans that our loving Father has over my life.

Petition: Jesus Christ, teach me to live out my baptism as a beloved son of the Father.

1. “In Those Days Jesus Came from Nazareth of Galilee and Was Baptized by John in the Jordan.” Jesus adheres perfectly to the plan of his Father. United in prayer, in conversation with his Father, he knew the time of his departure from the home in Nazareth and from his mother's loving care, to set out on the arduous and fruitful mission that was uniquely his. He comes to the Jordan with docility. He comes with great humility. He comes with an intense love for his Father and for souls. He shows us in his baptism that this sacrament initiates our Christian journey, a journey of glorifying the Father and saving souls, a journey of prayer and of apostolic action. Was this attitude of readiness to accomplish his Father's Will something new for Christ at his baptism? Of course not. He had fulfilled his mission perfectly and was ready to continue to do so. He had loved Mary and Joseph and fulfilled his role in that holy family as the unfolding of his Father's plan. All his life was a reflection of his words in Gethsemane, "Not my will, but yours be done."

2. “Thou Art My Beloved Son; with Thee I Am Will Pleased." When we are baptized into the family of love the Father also looks upon us and remarks, "You are my beloved son." We are the Father's. We belong to him. Our greatest freedom therefore is to live in this truth. We believe in God the Father, the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth. He is our creator and he created us with a purpose. He created us to be a creature that returns his love. By creation, then, we are his beloved sons. By our free response to his plan over our lives, we please him. In other words, when we carry to completion our Father's plan over our lives he can not only say of us, "you are my beloved son," but he can add, "with you I am well pleased." This is why baptism not only frees us from the sin that refrains our contact with God, but also gives us the freedom to enter into the unending bliss of being able to say, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." We should treasure this freedom each and every day.

3. “The Spirit Immediately Drove Him Out into the Wilderness.” When Jesus stepped out of the Jordan and left John to continue his work, Mark tells us that "the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness." The Spirit of this family of love also drives us, urges us, as St Paul would say, to carry out the Father's plan. It is the love of God living in us. Therefore the more we live the life of grace, the more we find ourselves driven by love, even to the point of sacrifice. This is why the saints, who we call heroic, say of themselves that they have done no more than their duty, no more than what love has made them do. A person authentically in love with God will accomplish great things for him.

Conversation: Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of baptism. Make today and every day, a day in which I keep alive the flames of love given to me in baptism. Teach me to know the love of the heavenly Father and to respond to it with an unconditional love. Send your Spirit upon me so that I may know, love and accomplish the Father's plan over my life. Amen.

Questionnaire:

1. How often do I thank God for the gift of baptism, and meditate upon its consequences in my life?

2. Am I docile like Christ and ready to bend humbly to the plan of the Father, or do I seek myself and my own plan over his?

3. Do I frequently invoke the Holy Spirit to enkindle in me his fire of love that will make me faithful to my baptismal commitments and move me to bring his love to the world.

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